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tv   [untitled]    October 10, 2012 8:00pm-8:30pm EDT

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tonight on r t an investigation into the an attack on benghazi gets political lawmakers on the hill grilled state department officials about how the attack out and and one of the u.s. wasn't more prepared ahead will sort through what we now know is that misinformation. and or forget office at its kids one c.e.o. is bringing politics into the workplace and he's going to strong message for his employees if obama wins you could soon be out of work is this a scare tactic or a scary truth we'll find out plus wal-mart might be the best at slashing prices but
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according to its employees that's not the only thing the company is rolling back on workers in nearly a dozen cities are protesting demanding better wages and better working conditions we'll take you to the picket line. good evening it's wednesday october tenth eight pm in washington d.c. i'm christine and you're watching our t.v. . let's begin this evening with a look at the congressional hearing on the attacks in benghazi libya capitol hill was abuzz today with questions like who knew what when as the house government oversight and government reform committee questioned high level officials on the security situation in libya leading up to those attacks a month ago that resulted in the death of u.s. ambassador christopher stevens and three other americans u.s. security officer eric nordstrom said he personally sent two cables to the u.s.
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state department asking for more security while stationed in libya here he is speaking at the hearing a little earlier today i had not seen an attack of such ferocity and intensity previously in libya nor in my time with the diplomatic security service i'm concerned that this attack signals a new security reality. over the last few days new information has been coming out showing some of the initial information about protests outside the consulate in benghazi that that was false the u.s. state department now says there was no protest what happened on the night of september eleventh had nothing to do with the controversial offensive video called the innocence of muslims and everything to do with a group of armed men who came onto the compound where the benghazi consulate is based and after being unable to get to ambassador stevens directly they said the building on fire we now know ambassador stevens it most likely died of smoke inhalation so to talk more about the changing story on the developing investigation
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i was going to earlier by reba dia our arabic correspondent here at r.t. and we first discussed what happened at the actual hearing today. actually the the whole hearing was just the congress demanding answers from the administration that the ministration could not provide exactly as per the request of the congress they want answers as to what exactly happened especially as the congress members kept saying after all the contradicting information and stories that they kept hearing from the administration and the fact that there was a press conference one day before this hearing just even added fuel to the fire that was happening or you know that just. because of because of the intensity of what happened in benghazi in libya certainly unprecedented attacks i think it's been about fifty years since the u.s. has lost any of its ambassadors while serving as and so of course rightfully so
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people want to know answers they want to know if in fact. you know people coming forth begging for more security in libya if that was ignored but so far have we heard anything that shows us that more security would have in fact prevented these attacks that that's an arguable. statement and a lot of the. witnesses on the whole kept saying that this is not a preventable attack you cannot prevent an attack as big as this one just by adding a few more security personnel or just by adding one foot of concrete cement to the walls all the embassy this is not an attack that was easily prevented just by adding to the security that was already provided even though there was requests made or the request made to add to the security of the compound but these requests would not have been sufficient enough to counter an attack. you know like the one
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that happened like the one that killed ambassador stevens in benghazi and therefore these requests all as soon as they were could not have prevented what happened although it's something i think a lot of people are finding very shocking is this information that's coming out that when these requests were made by these high level officials you know sending cables to the u.s. state department that they were told not only no but they were told stop asking do not keep putting this in writing specially in a place like a big as a where everybody kept talking about how insecure the country was after the revolution how weapons where just in everyone's hand they did not even know who the groups that had the weapons what their affiliations were so these requests should have made more sense the authorities the. specially the security authorities knowing how bad the situation is on the ground in libya yeah it seems to me that
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even if they weren't going to send more security right away it seems to me a more normal. it's or at least would be you know we're going to look into this and see what we can do not know and stop asking you know that's like you know something that a mom tells her toddler at the supermarket you know you're not going to get this this candy this is real serious business here rima one of the things though that really came out i was watching quite a bit of the hearing today and there was a lot of back and forth and something that a lot of people on both sides are saying is that this is a tragic attack that has now become political and let me play a really quick part of an exchange that happen today. requests for extensions of more security by the mission in libya however appear to have often been rejected or even more deliberately officials in washington told diplomats in libya not even to make them though the german claims we are pursuing this investigation want to quote
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bipartisan basis that is simply not been the case so what we have there is chairman darrell i say he's the chairman of this committee and the ranking member allies are cummings now according to congressman cummings the g.o.p. can concealed many of their interactions that they had with some of these top officials congressman cummings also said documents were withheld and that violates as most people know that violates house rules in addition coming said you know we were notified less than twenty four hours before they were going to take this fact finding mission to libya i.e. we weren't invited we were left out of this trip and when it comes to an international investigative trip. this should be something that everyone is involved in talk a little bit about the politicization or at least you know alleged politicization of this investigation a lot of people would say the politicization of the event actually you cannot but
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say that this has become a political issue for both parties both are trying to gain gains political gains basically from this event by the government the authorities trying to conceal information at the beginning given different reports given different stories as to what happened on that day that is trying to save their face as to why they have not provided more security why. stevens was not told not to go there in the first place because of the. situation in benghazi in libya as a whole and on the other eye of the political spectrum in the u.s. you have the g.o.p. who is trying to discredit size the administration. instead of trying to actually really find out what happened then and how to prevent it and it seems to me i mean we have gotten to a point of course we are four weeks out of an election and things are have gotten so divided in this country surrounding which political party people are members of
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and it seems like even an issue like this that really does concern the entire country as a whole as a united whole this is something that both both parties i guess are just going to try to use in the election you have people blaming obama for getting you know intelligence information and ignoring it you have the obama administration blaming house republicans for cutting security funding so it's really interesting what we're seeing here a little too much politics i think a lot of people are concerned what i want to know from you remind you you spend a lot of your days sort of combing through arabic newspapers and websites on twitter and reading things that most people in this country when see or even be able to understand what do people in other countries make of this investigation and especially the changing story i don't want to say this has divided the arab world but it definitely there is two different sets of points on this issue if not more i'm sure there is a lot more but one prevailing argument that i would say is very interesting is the
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fact that people are saying in the past the administration's kept supporting those regimes in power hoping that they would that they would get that they would have the popular support that there that they would like to have from the arabs from the arab and muslim populations and that did not get them anything that did not get them take them anywhere actually and right now they jumped on the arab spring they supported the arab spring the arab revolutions and the results are the same but us is viewed just in the same way as it was before this is a challenge the arab spring the arab revolutions is posing or our poll. a challenge to the u.s. policy foreign policy is in particular and that's a challenge that many people are saying that the u.s. will not be able to meet not in the near future especially because what's going on in the arab world is evolving and they don't know where they're headed and
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therefore the u.s. not being able to determine its policies clearly on the arab spring given different views on different countries they will also have to face what's going on is there so many implications coming out of this course as we mentioned that investigation on capitol hill going on as we speak arabic correspondent spondon dia thanks so much for your insight as always on tuesday president obama signed an executive order implementing new tougher sanctions on iran the goal of course is to increase pressure on tehran to halt its nuclear program a program which officials there say is for peaceful purposes the sanctions were laid down in legislation which passed easily in both the u.s. senate and the house of representatives a few months ago i was not forget there have already been sanctions and in a report published last week un secretary-general ban ki moon laid down exactly who those sanctions have been impacting the most the sanctions he said have added significant effects on the general population including an escalation in inflation
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arise in commodities and energy costs an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of necessary items including medicine well there's a deeper look at the u.s. government's iran policy i was joined earlier by jamal he is the policy director at the national iranian american council and i started out by asking him how does hitting the iranian people directly lead to an eventual halt to the iranian nuclear program here's his response. it doesn't is a short answer but this is something that is supposedly an unintended effect of the sanctions the people who write these bills the president who signs them largely say we don't want to hurt ordinary iranians this is designed to hurt the running government but you do have a small number of lawmakers a growing number of lawmakers and pundits on the outside who are starting to come clean and say actually this is great when we see that ordinary people are suffering in iran when we see the currency devaluation that's hurting the middle class and
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the reason they say this is great is because the same friends aren't designed to address the nuclear issue the sanctions are designed to topple the iranian government and they think that. toppling the iranian government starts with engineering suffering among the people and that somehow the u.s. is going to convince people to basically take up arms or rise up against the government because of these sanctions is that what you think will happen i mean when you have a country that's starving that's out of work certainly they're going to get angry the question is who will they direct that anger towards now this isn't going to work we already we've seen the democracy movement inside of iran in two thousand and nine this wasn't a movement based on food riots and suffering these were actually largely middle class iranians who had the ability to to sort of funnel their attention towards demanding civil liberties demanding their voting rights and things like that but if we look what happened in the arab spring jamal i mean
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a lot of people say if you look at egypt if you look at tunisia that was based on people who are hungry people who could not you know sell their first thing that happens in the street and that did lead to the toppling of a government well look you may get a situation in iran where you have people who attempts to topple the government whether it's from the outside this group that has been delisted or you have this instability that's created but i would just say two things one have been through rebel. shit iranians don't like this regime but they also understand the instability that comes from toppling a regime and then the second thing is that if you actually i mean if this strategy actually worked out which i actually don't think that people want this strategy work out i think they want to fail so that we can move to a war option but were those to actually pan out where there was some sort of instability that toppled the iranian government this is not is not how you produce a democracy this is not how a democratic government is created and that was demobbed the policy director of the
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national iranian american council. you may have heard that business and politics just don't mix but tell that to david segal the founder and c.e.o. of westgate resorts gawker discover that the billionaire owner of the international timeshare company and resort developer sent an e-mail to his employees that essentially threatened them with mass layoffs if president obama won reelection in november the e-mail from siegel to his employees begins as a pep talk but very quickly gets political he says quote the economy doesn't currently pose a threat to your job what does threaten your job however is another four years of the same presidential administration of course as your employer i can't tell you whom to vote for and i certainly wouldn't interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose in fact i encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests best it's a story argy correspondent nicholas o'donovan has been looking into he joins us live from our studios in miami florida hey there necklace the inference of course
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is that the employee's best interests are served by a romney administration but sending an e-mail like this is pretty shocking what are people in florida saying about this. well there is still no official reaction down here in florida for the moment but this is what seven thousand workers at the westgate resorts saw when they opened their office email on monday morning it's an e-mail from their bosses he said david segal letting them know that if they vote for obama they could lose their jobs so i'm pretty sure that they had a priceless process reaction to that e-mail as we said david segal is the billionaire c.e.o. results a huge national timeshare company and one of the largest resort developers in the world he sent a surprise an e-mail to these employees on monday threatening them with losing
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their jobs if barack obama got reelected and single company. they are going to is based in orlando florida in the middle i'm sure as you know what is a very big battleground area of a swing state we're less than a month away from the election do you think this e-mail could ultimately make a difference on november sixth. as you say mr siegel's company is based in orange county which is one of the democratic leaning counties here in central florida it voted for barack obama fifty nine percent to forty percent in two thousand and eight and as we said david segal is based in florida and this is obviously not a coincidence in the two thousand and eight election obama won the state with a very narrow fifty point nine percent of votes and it is always tight down here in florida and every vote counts therefore it is also no coincidence that the last presidential debate will also take place here in boca raton florida candidates know
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it and businessmen know it down here in florida the other night if we don't share the key you get all the eggs in there. absolutely we know the state of florida could hold the key to the white house in the next election well and fact it's very interesting because mr siegel says he's actually done this before he seemed to take credit for george w. bush's victory over al gore in two thousand that's when he apparently had managers ask his then eight thousand employees about their political affiliation tell us about what happened in that case the first thing we have to say you said eight thousand employees now there's only seven thousand obviously thought something's gone wrong in his company but as you say it's not the first time that siegel is actively involved in a campaign in fact the florida florida real estate business and claims he was as you said personally responsible for george w. bush's two thousand presidential victory will twelve years ago he used similar
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tactics tactics to influence his employees during the two thousand presidential election campaign he admitted quote whenever i saw a negative article about gore i put it in with the paychecks of my employees and quote after that he said he couldn't imagine obviously that bush would win by only five hundred twenty seven votes he also admits that his tactics for helping bush win may not necessarily have been legal so even if it still surprises i'm sure his seven thousand employees saw it coming yeah you know he i think he also told somebody that he found out the political affiliation of his employees and if they were republican he helps them register to vote and if they were democrats he would make sure they get to the polls yes they are exactly what he said i mean if that is this to me jonathan really is is shocking but the bottom line is it's
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important that we get the story out there wondering if there are any similar incidents. there is segal isn't the first c. to push his political preferences onto his employees c.e.o. of coal company mary energy allegedly persuaded his employees to donate money to the romney campaign. energy workers have also accused the company of forcing them to participate in pro romney rallies and gave up days of worth worth of pay and they could face the possibility of getting fired if they didn't but we have left the best for last siegel whens is a you male say in my motivation to work and to provide jobs would be destroyed as you said and with it so will your opportunities if that happens you can find me in the caribbean sit in the beach under a palm tree retired and with no employees to worry about so we will have to wait
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till november the sixth to see if mr siegel goes for a long holiday or even stays if he's in his ninety thousand square foot palace is so interesting their neck necklace i'm just it's just crazy that somebody can really influence or have you know any sort of influence i guess that with the power of a keystroke very very interesting article nicholas o'donovan joining us from miami . we want to update you now on a story that we've been following pretty closely here at r.t. this massive protest held by employees of wal-mart they started small and have now happened all across the country we're talking about places like dallas texas seattle san francisco miami los angeles chicago orlando and more also today wal-mart held its shareholder meeting in bentonville arkansas and outside of that meeting striking retail and warehouse workers came out to voice their concerns they called on the company above all to improve working conditions now we have video
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from today of a protest in more laurel maryland it's important to note most of the workers out there temporary workers here they get paid low wages most of them don't have benefits many say they were promised hours and they don't get them and they often put themselves in danger as working conditions just to work here's what they're asking for we have to survive to really or the minimum wages we need to live in wages so that we can you know be able to support at them be able to pay the with the bag groceries be able to take families. in so they can have family trips and. workers and they want the company not only to negotiate but to stop retaliating against workers who speak out or try to organize and last night wal-mart workers voted to step up demonstrations on get this black friday what is the most busy day of the year at wal-mart and other stores like it black friday so imagine the power
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that these employees might have if they decide not to show up to work so that's in the plans down the road but first and foremost they want to negotiate so let's talk now to labor journalist josh eidelson a contributor at salon dot com he's been covering this josh pretty much since day one and we just heard from one employee what else are these workers asking for. so since our roller began organizing last year in two thousand and eleven they've been raising concerns about the staffing i'm reporting today at salon about a worker who talks about hollowing candy they've got could out in a bargain bin in the summer after the chocolate had turned white just because there weren't enough workers to put the food out before that to get it out onto the shelves so staffing wages benefits the focus of the strikes the has been the retaliation at least say workers faced actively raise these concerns. as i mean
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that's certainly has been a major concern and we have to remember i mean this is not a company where you have unionized workers they don't get the same basic rights as you know other corporations where workers are organized but talk a little bit about it from your reporting the ways in which some of these employees have been punished. so i've interviewed workers for salon who were terminated either directly or through being told that they wouldn't be able to get medical leave who were disciplined i talked to a worker for example who said that on a lunch break he was on lunch another worker was a lunch so they talked about this other worker getting involved in our wal-mart a manager was watching the entire time and immediately when that other worker went back to work he was taken to the office and accused of stealing time and hired another worker talked about having cameras taking pictures of his workstation all the time and then getting the final written warning for something that he had done
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because one manager told him to and that another manager claimed was against the rules in terms of how he marked in the product so there are dozens of allegations like this that have been made that suggest that much the same way that wal-mart historically has responded to explicit union drives a stake in the same approach to these workers in our wal-mart getting together locally to address issues internationally to call for a change in the company and yeah i mean i think even internationally there's a lot going on i know that one of the stories i think it was in quebec canada they tried to unionize it and they were getting close and wal-mart ended up closing down the store and you know a little later on opening up a new star with all their workers so it's really interesting when you when you take a deeper look at what's going on any knowledge of josh legal action what's in the works in terms of lawsuits against wal-mart well the dukes versus wal-mart lawsuit which was the largest class action ever which the supreme court halted on the grounds that wal-mart is advocates said was too big to sue that lawsuit in effect
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has been broken up into state lawsuits around wage discrimination in those are proceeding the national organization of women is one of the organizations that has linked arms very closely with our wal-mart and says it's ready to be out on black. friday side by side with workers telling customers lee should go shop somewhere else instead now on the labor front there are dozens of charges against the company with the national labor relations board that's a long and difficult process but those charges do actually give the workers some with greater legal protection going on strike than if they had only gone on strike over the fact that they have poverty wages and don't have health insurance i got to say though josh a lot of critics are looking at what's going on what these employees are doing and they're saying you know this is going to be air traffic control strike to point out we are of course living in a time of a tough economy it will be easier than ever for wal-mart to replace these workers
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if they decide to strike i mean what's your response to people who say this. well the workers are taking a risk that's part of why in fifty years that wal-mart has existed and been totally nonunion in the us you've never seen a strike by multiple wal-mart store workers until last week now we've seen two so it is a risk now legally they've been careful in the united food and commercials workers union which works closely with our walmart clearly has been careful that's i think part of why everything in the messaging around the strike is emphasized retaliation because it's illegal to replace workers who are out on the strength that's about unfair labor practices the law actually protects nonunion workers to go out on strike one of the ridiculous things about u.s. law though is that if not for the unfair labor practices the company could replace those workers now what the workers are saying though in salute the longest are saying is even if it would be illegal to replace these workers that's not really
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what's going to constrain wal-mart well are these going to be much more constrained by questions of public relations and questions of how it's going to affect the organizing if they think bring the hammer down on some workers will inflame others then they're less likely to do it but if they think that they can terrify enough workers by coming down on some people that they can snuff this out i would expect that they would do it based on what's happened in the past so we don't know yet how wal-mart will ensue that question and we should make clear this started not by the people who work at the cash register is or green at the door of wal-mart these are people who work sort of as a contractor for the contractors of wal-mart people who actually are in their manufacturing some of the products and in the factories is that still the case today. so this weekend was the end of the most recent strike by warehouse workers but as you say there was a strike by a seafood workers who supply to wal-mart in june and in the second week of
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september warehouse workers in california and illinois who on paper don't work for one alert but are subject to wal-mart's supply chain to america's budgeting they went on strike and there was a truly unusual victory that warehouse workers one in illinois where they would look for people their jobs back who they said had been fired because they were involved in organizing. payment. we are out of time about i really want to thank you for your insight here labor journalist josh eidelson with salon dot com and that's going to do it for now but for more on the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r t america or check out our web site r t dot com slash usa and if you're not already you should follow me on twitter at christine.

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